Updated: Apr 2, 2019
USTA player, Elizabeth Williams, outlines strategy, skill and support.
Elizabeth Williams, photographed by Gwyneth J. Saunders, serves during the 2010 Fall Southern PTR Wheelchair Championship.
Elizabeth Williams, although humble in her accomplishments, has traveled the world playing tennis. She credits her success as a player to her practice of proactively visualizing goals, along with her constant support system.
“Tennis is something that I’ve enjoyed playing since the first time I went out on a court,” Williams said. “At first, I just loved being out there, being active.”
After attending a wheelchair tennis camp, Williams became more interested in tournament play, competing for the first time at only 13 years old.
“I absolutely loved it and I met some great people,” she said.
Today, Williams finds the mental side of the sport just as rewarding, and challenging, as its physical components. Her strategy of establishing objectives keeps her motivated and focused.
“I learned how to set goals, reach those goals, and set the next set of goals,” she said.
A large part of her strategic process involves identifying areas of improvement.
“I have to get to the point where I can come up with something concrete that I need to work on in the future,” Williams said.
Currently, she is interested in perfecting her backhand by focusing on adding topspin. In terms of strengths, she feels especially confident in her topspin forehand. Opponents regularly compliment Williams on her serve, she added modestly.
In line with her goal-setting approach, Williams employs a reflective method post-match, particularly after tournament play.
“When I come back from a tournament, I watch video of the play to learn more about the players that I might compete against in the future,” she said.
From the sidelines, Williams’ family always supports her athletic efforts and provides her encouragement match-to-match.
“They’re behind me, on and off the court; it doesn’t matter,” she said.
When faced with challenges, Williams relies on her support system to help her push through. She insists that the key to improvement is to avoid dwelling on losses or shortcomings.
“At the end of the day, it’s a game. The people that are really important to you are going to be happy either way,” she said.
Although she prefers to play singles at this point in her athletic career, Williams enjoys the team-dynamic of doubles. Playing alongside partners of various skill sets has taught her valuable lessons about her own match play.
“When you find someone you work really well with, it’s a lot of fun,” she said.
Williams’ experience as a seasoned player gives her the authority to extend valuable guidance to beginners. Her advice is simple.
“Give it a chance,” she said. “Stick with it long enough to see if it’s something you want to pursue. It has some great things to offer.”
Williams looks forward to continuing to play tennis for years to come and applauds the sport’s accessibility to players of all ages and skill sets.
“There’s somewhere for every age and level of player to play, which is one of the great things about it,” she said. “It’s a game for a lifetime.”